- November 2016 -
What happens when you try to fix the head of a whisk on the body of an old salt shaker?
Well, if you just leave it like that, unless you find a conceptual explanation, your thing is likely to eventually end up in the bin. Especially if a less receptive person comes across it insensitively. Have you learnt something in the making? Have you have had fun? If you can answer Yes! to one of these questions, then all is not lost or in vain.
Now, if you decided to add a few other bits and bobs to your peculiar assemblage, you could call it art! A sculpture.
The area where I leave is bubbly. If you take a stroll around the market, you come across a few little wonder shops crammed with the designs of local artists. A few weeks ago, I found inspiration there. It was not intentional. I am not crazy about (window) shopping. But that day, I just pushed the door and got in. Someone had designed jewellery using the inside of a watch. Eureka! I went home knowing what to do.
I added a little bit of this and that here and there, stripped some wires, fixed a few LEDs and... Ta-dah! The main idea was there. Of course, it needed a bit of tweaking everywhere for the final polishing touch, but it was done.
The moral of the story is not necessarily that one should (window) shop more often to find inspiration, but that inspiration comes from everywhere. But we all know that, don't we? What is interesting here is the role and impact of creative practice. Does creativity help us stay more attuned to inspiration when we come across it? Does it create a need and as a consequence a lust for answers?
That is why I find tinkering so appealing.
From the itinerant tinsmith who mended household utensils to today’s artisan hackers, makers, inventors and designers, tinkering is not new, but the concept has evolved. Yet, I believe it still stems from the same roots: need and ingenuity. It has become a form of art and exploration of unlimited fields. It gives a new meaning and beauty to everyday objects. Finally, it is about finding solutions with what you have available at hand. It is about learning, thinking, discovering, solving and creativity and often, it is fun.
Tinkers can get involve in the large online community of makers and hackers, work for their local community by developing accessible projects that benefit others, such as printing prosthetic 3D hands, as well as work independently. One way or another, the tinker embarks on a voyage of discovery to quench an insatiable curiosity and a yearning for answers.